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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

THE BULL-HEADED PREMIER                    99

horse, and wait patiently till the dawn, when you could travel
on safe highways in broad daylight?"

The Emperor was greatly mistaken, Su Tungpo warned, if he thought
Ke was going to succeed by reliance on his arbitrary power. Officials
had been degraded and dismissed; there was talk of restoring severe
punishment by bodily mutilation. He went on:

"Now the court is torn by dissension, for which there must be a
cause. Instead of seeking the cause, Your Majesty intends to over-
come opposition by force. But since history began, force has never
been able to suppress the people. In ancient days, scholars were
threatened with knives and saws in front and the boiling pot behind,
but that did not stop them from voicing their convictions. Your
Majesty has not yet killed any minister. So far you have only dis-
missed those who oppose your policy. I hardly think Your Majesty
will have the heart to imitate the example of the Chin dictator
and kill men for gossiping in the streets, or revive the party inquisi-
tions of Han. Do you suppose scholardom will be frightened and
silenced? The more men you banish from the court, the more will
rise in protest. ... If Your Majesty intends to change the code of
punishment and do the extreme, how will you prevent a rebellion?

"There is not a man in the country whose heart is not turning
against the government, and not a tongue which is not talking ill
of the regime. Does this sound like the beginning of a great reign
when the Emperor and his ministers work in complete harmony
for die good of the state? The ancient saying has it: CA hundred
people cannot be wrong.' Now it is not only a hundred people, but
the entire nation which is voicing the same opinion, and yet Your
Majesty persists in your course against the opposition of the entire
nation. I really do not know what to say. The Boo^ of Songs says:

'Like unto a drifting boat,

None knows where it is heading.

Restless I He upon the pillow,
Tor my heart is bleeding.'

I hope Your Majesty will consider these humble words of mine,
although I know I am courting death by this memorial.

Your humble servant,

Su Shih"

The issue that deeply stirred all officialdom was Wang's purge of
the censorate. From the very beginning, Wang Anshih frightened the